Spencer also revealed that there were spatial considerations, meaning getting the actual component to fit in the console but also how many people use the optical audio port.
“We also, frankly, know how many people use it today on the console. So I know you do, but we see it. So we also kind of do the math of we have to put a part in every console that X percent of people use, is there a better place for us to spend that money if we can support it in different ways.”
9 New Xbox Series X Images
The decision to remove the optical audio port wasn’t a surprise to Xbox’s audio partners like Astro who make third-party headsets for game consoles, and whose high-end equipment requires the port. “We had a conversation with the headset manufacturers prior to all of this. So when we stood up and said your accessories are going to work, we weren’t kind of walking a tightrope there. We’d already had the conversations.”
And Astro announced that it’s working with Microsoft on a firmware update for its MixAmp Pro TR, A50, and Base Station and A20 headsets for them to be compatible with the Xbox Series X at launch through the USB.
“You know there’s all of these decisions are things that we think through very deeply and try to figure out where the plans are,” said Spencer. “And I know with everything that we don’t do that we used to do, there’s going to be somebody who’s disappointed and it’s not the funnest part of the job, but I think we have a plan for the future.”
Audio on the Xbox Series X will run through HDMI 2.1, which outputs both audio and video up to 8K with Dolby Atmos.You can check out IGN’s full interview with Spencer on the new episode of Podcast Unlocked where he reveals details about the current status of the console amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and competing with the PS5. Also, check out IGN’s full breakdown of the Xbox Series X and how it compares to the known specs of the PS5.
Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.